asian american sitcom in the works: the chin chens

Some interesting news out of Atlanta, where a local producer is putting together an Asian American-themed sitcom called The Chin Chens, focusing on the members of a Chinese/Vietnamese American family who own a successful chain of nail salons and Chinese restaurants: Local producer shooting Asian-American sitcom 'The Chin Chens'

Vickie Eng, an Atlanta actress who plays the mom, thinks the show could be "like 'The Cosby Show' was for African Americans. The family is wealthy and educated. It brings core family values, Asian values. We hope to be funny while doing it."

The show started production this week at Hollins' Bright Ideas Entertainment company in Norcross. There, the actors gathered to go through the first scripts and learn their way around the sets, which cost $325,000 to erect.

Hollins will direct the first two episodes and Debbie Allen, the choreographer and TV producer known for her work on 1982's "Fame" TV series, will direct some future episodes, according to Tom Nguyen, a University of Georgia graduate who plays the son on the show and is helping tweak the scripts to ensure they have a proper Asian-American feel.
Why do I get a really bad feeling about this? Granted, I haven't seen a single second of footage, and I'm the guy always griping about the lack of opportunities for Asians in entertainment. But something in me just can't that excited about a regionally-produced Cosby-esque sitcom revolving around restaurant and nail salon punchlines.

And seriously -- the title? The Chin Chens?

That said, I'm not even sure I'll be able to watch it. The show has a year-long commitment from a small Denver-based non-profit cable outlet, Colours TV, available on Dish Network. They've apparently raised more than $3 million from private investors to fund the first 13 episodes. But with no recognizable stars, will it be able to attract an audience? Stay tuned, I guess.

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